Am I Wrong To Change My Name?
Please help! I'm I wrong for legally changing my name? And what's the correct spelling?
- Melanie, for now
This Unknown Librarian sounds like an object of faith, an untouchable authority your parents cling to even in the face of 30 years of overwhelming evidence. Has any librarian ever been granted such exalted status?
Your parents believe, of course, because they want to believe. We all become deeply attached to the names we give our children. After 30 years as mom and dad to a Melanie, it's hard for your parents to let go of the spelling -- and all too easy for them to take your practical decision as a personal reproach. But the plain fact is that in American English, Melanie is reliably stressed on the first syllable, with an "eh" vowel sound.
Perhaps your parents' mysterious librarian was from another country. Or perhaps he or she was simply making a game effort to answer an unanswerable question: "What is the 'correct' spelling of the girl's name pronounced "mi-LAH-nee"? There is no "correct" spelling, because it's simply not a traditional name. Milani, though, is a surname related to the familiar Milano, and should be pronounced the way you want.
As a grown woman, you have plenty of experience living with YOUR name, and every right to want its sound and spelling to match. To soften the blow for your parents, explain that you're not rejecting the lovely name they chose for you. You're just helping the public to pronounce it right.